I’ve been having a writer's block for, well, it feels like years. I have drafts I’ve worked on. Mostly on a single play I’ve played with since Shakespeare, which is the verbiage Rhonda would suggest for me. Still, it’s nothing with a complete arc, beginning middle and end. So I’d say that’s a block. I mean, I’ve plotted it out, I have the key events I know it needs to have happen. It will make them happen.
Orphans, Lyle Kessler
Thank you for coming to Orphans. This play follows two orphaned siblings committing petty crime to eat, even if still poorly. A good analogy for our former orphanages is our foster care system, which as of September 30, 2016, had 437,463 children. 45% were with a non-relative, and 32% were with a relative. [Adoption and Foster Care Data Analysis and Reporting System]
But, perhaps their situation improves once they reach adulthood, and are able to buy tobacco, serve in the military, and hopefully support themselves. That doesn’t appear the be the case. Upon age 18, 20% of children in the foster care system are instantly homeless. Only half of those who are in the system have gainful employment by the time they are age 24. Fewer that 3% earn a college degree, while 25% are diagnosed with PTSD. [National Foster Youth Institute]
As we find out in this show, these boys dodged the foster care system in an attempt to stay together. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]. This situation is not improving either, as currently 43% of US children live without their father [US Department of Census]. A generation of Treats and Phillips are in the making, and they may not have a Harold to pull them back to humanity.
- Soren Gillaspy
What strikes me most about Orphans is the element of trying to move forward. Everyone in the play is, or was, stuck, and in their own way they’re trying to make a change. The way they do that might not always be moral or admirable, but against all odds they are trying something. And the odds against them are huge. Growing up without parents is devastating, and this play presents a reality of that, but also offers a possibility of survival and betterment.
- Murren Kennedy
Went to school for theater, learned to make a living in food, fitness, sales, and public education.